Gabriel and Evans have known each other for quite some time through the training they carry out together in various special-need schools. Every Wednesday, as part of a programme from “Schalke hilft!”, they train around twenty youths between the ages of fourteen and seventeen, who each have a disability.


The Disability Football Programme from the FCSA includes the Tandem Education and the Special Youth Camp. In each case, a youth/young adult with a disability (Young Coach) and a participant without a disability (Tandem Partner) form a Tandem pair together and learn from and support each other. During the Special Youth Camps, they can implement their learnings into training sessions with a large group of children. Gabriel and Evans went through the 2018 Programme together and they gained lots of experience training kids with disabilities. To see what they liked best and how they got on during the Programme, read on for their impressions in their My Story.


Project: Central Europe, April – August 2018

Parent Organisation: FC Schalke 04

Project Central Europe | Facts
Peer Young Coaches
Benefiting Children


Gabriel (Young Coach): I’ve been playing football for a while and think it’s great that I can be a coach now. During the training we learned a lot. For example, how to build a training session and how to demonstrate and explain different exercises. I enjoyed the fun games the most. In Bremerhaven and Basel, we had to train kids we did not even know. That was demanding, but it was also fun.

Evans (Tandem Partner): The whole programme was very interesting! I’ve already had some experience in the area of disability, but the combination of football and working directly with the Young Coaches was new to me. It was a challenge, but since I already knew Gabriel, there was no fear of contact and we could work well together. The best thing about the training for me was to see that everyone who was there could also learn things from the others. Each person brings different strengths and weaknesses, but all have the same goal, namely to strengthen disability football.

Gabriel: When I returned to training after the Tandem Education, I started straight away as a trainer. At the beginning, it was still a bit difficult, I always spoke too quietly and didn’t look at the children. In the meantime, this has gotten much better.

Evans: It is really a big help having Gabriel now at my side. When I was injured he took over the complete responsibility for the trainings. During and after the Training we learned a lot from each other. I now have much greater confidence in him and can give him things which I didn’t like to hand out before.

Gabriel: It really is great fun training the group and I will definitely continue to do it. Beforehand I was just a player and now I am a coach. It is a great feeling having the players respect and listen to me.

Evans: I will also be there and we will share the tasks between us but I plan that I will only make the greeting and the farewell while the training session will be undertaken by the Young Coach. I am also convinced that if we do it like this then Gabriel will continue to get better. It was terrific to see him develop so much throughout the programme. His self-reflection has become much better, he notices now quickly himself when something doesn’t go so well. For example, he made the pitch smaller or bigger to match the level of the players and he would briefly halt the session when he noticed the concentration of the players was no longer there. Furthermore, he was aware that at some trainings there were English speaking children and he always made sure that the instructions were translated for them and that everyone was having fun.

Gabriel: Yes, that’s right. I learned, above all, during the week of the camp how I can better motivate the children in the exercises, until now that was difficult for me to do. Tomorrow, we will (the Young Coaches) lead the Closing Festival. We have told our Tandem Partners what we will do and they are our helpers, not the other way around. I am already a bit nervous.

Evans: But you shouldn’t be, the job you did yesterday at the training session was really top stuff!


Young Coaches

Our Young Coaches are community leaders and role models in less privileged societies. They commit themselves to support the children of their communities by conveying important social topics (conflict resolution, inclusion, HIV prevention, etc.) through football. Each of the Young Coaches represents a unique personal story.